This year, for a Christmas present to ourselves/D’s mother, we decided to visit Chicago over New Years. And yes, as the December date crept closer and closer, I did wonder why on earth we weren’t going for the Fourth of July, I’m so glad we went when we did.

Up until very very recently, I hated all things winter and anything cold. Now I see that I was wrong. Winter can be magical. Winter is full of sparkle and glow and crackles and steam and fuzz and thick knits and paper and goodness. D and I had the best time catching up with a dear friend, meeting new faces, drinking way too many warm beverages, and dancing in the snow. (and by that…I mean I loved dancing and squealing and playing in the snow while D and his family laughed at me from inside).

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chicago 3The Navy Pier was probably the sight I was most excited to see, and it was pretty great. We were able to see some really great views of a frozen Lake Michigan and a hazy dusk full of ferris wheel lights and swirling snowflakes. However, some silly private party rented out most of the atrium the night we visited, and it was way too cold to stay out until midnight for fireworks, so we didn’t do everything we planned. But we did have a hilarious adventure getting there involving a cab driver who hated the city, made about 100 wrong turns, and only charged me $7 bucks for the whole ordeal because he felt so bad. We didn’t mind…it was like getting a free city tour in a warm car for nothing with a sassy cabbie tour guide.

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The biggest downer of the trip was by far the drive home. We unfortunately had to leave right in the middle of Winter Storm Hercules, so our 12 hour drive ended up taking almost 16 thanks to the 13-14 hours of straight snow we ran into, including a major pop-up blizzard right through North Carolina which was literally the scariest ride of my life. But, we were very lucky to finally arrive back home without a scratch or scare…just a very salty car. Plus, I was able to take a ton of snow-scape pictures.

I loved Chicago. I loved snow. I loved learning to appreciate a new season I have many times cursed…I was able to feel like a little girl on a snow day. Plus, winter-time is a fantastic excuse to duck into a coffee shop more than usual, since it is full of warmth and comfort–and I’m a fan of anything that gives me a reason to coffee shop!